Author: Lai, Thanhha
Mia's parents are sending her, along with her father, on a trip to Vietnam so she can learn more about her roots--and also help her grandmother figure out what really happened to her grandfather during the Vietnam War.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 171969
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 65451
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/14)
School Library Journal (+) (01/01/15)
Booklist (+) (11/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/15)
The Hornbook (00/03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2014 *Starred Review* Twelve-year-old Vietnamese American Mai is a Laguna Beach girl who can’t wait to spend her summer at the beach getting to know HIM, the boy on whom she has a major crush. Imagine her horror, then, when her parents announce that she must, instead, travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who will search for clues to the fate of her husband, who disappeared during what Mai thinks of as “THE WAR.” It’ll be a chance to connect with her roots, her father tells her, to which she acidly thinks, “Yeah, right . . . They’re his roots, not mine.” In fact, she admits, most of what she knows about Vietnam comes from PBS. Set to hate it in Vietnam, Mai is at first selfish and solipsistic, finding life there to be “one body-crushing, must-do, crowd-throbbing, mind-heavy event after another.” Gradually, however, she begins to change as she gets to know her bewilderingly large extended family and makes a friend of a distant cousin. Lai does a superb job of creating a memorable setting and populating it with fully developed, complex characters. Gracefully written and enriched by apposite figures of speech, Listen, Slowly is a superb, sometimes humorous, always thought-provoking coming-of-age story. HIGH-DEMAND HOT LIST: Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again (2011) racked up the honors from both Newbery and National Book Award committees, and it also landed on the New York Times best-seller list, so her latest is sure to generate widespread anticipation. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 5–8—The summer before she turns 13, Mai is planning to spend her time going to the beach and finally talking to her secret crush. She's less than thrilled when her parents make her escort her grandmother to Vietnam instead. New information may have surfaced about her long lost grandfather, who disappeared over 40 years ago in "THE WAR." Mai doesn't know the culture or speak the language, and everything she knows about Vietnam is from a PBS documentary on the Fall of Saigon. While her parents are excited for her to learn more about her roots, the teen doesn't even know the details of her own parents' escape because "random roots are encouraged, but specific roots are off-limits." Stuck in a village with limited internet access, a sulky Mai slowly makes friends due to lack of better things to do and bonds with her grandmother, with whom she was very close as a small child. Mai's character growth is slow and believable, coming in small increments and occasionally backsliding. The sights, smells, and tastes of Vietnam's cities and villages come alive on the page, without overwhelming a story filled with a summers-worth of touching and hilarious moments, grand adventure, and lazy afternoons. With a contemporary time setting, this compelling novel shows the lingering effects of war through generations and how the secrets our parents keep can shape us.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington CountyPublic Libraries, VA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 Twelve-year-old Mia is the only member of the family available to help her grandmother finally get some answers about what happened to Mia’s grandfather, who was captured during the Vietnam War. Leaving California behind, Mia and her grandmother travel to the Vietnamese village of Mia’s father’s birth, where Mia is overwhelmed by the attentions of officious aunties and suspicious cousins who are fascinated with Mia and anxious to show hospitality, even producing a translator-a boy who has gone to school in America and speaks English with a delightful Texan-Vietnamese accent. Fortunately for Mia, she understands Vietnamese even if she can’t speak it, a fact she cagily keeps to herself in order to gain information amid the flurry of constant activity, and she’s even able to conspire with her cousins to escape the vigilant attention of the adults. Meanwhile, a detective has found the man who guarded Mia’s grandfather in his last days, and Mia and her grandmother must then to travel to Saigon to find more answers. The village experience and Mia and her grandmother’s travels in the city offer La?i a way to introduce readers to various aspects of Vietnamese culture with both wry wit and genuine enthusiasm. She’s chosen her narrator well: Mia is a thoroughly credible contemporary California girl, tempering her wonder and fascination regarding this world of mosquitoes, luminous frogs, no privacy, and endless food with a full measure of good-natured tween eye-rolling. Her surprise at finding a new friend in a difficult cousin, as well as a new perspective on what really matters, is as endearing as it is instructive for readers, and they may be prompted to take more interest in their own family histories. KC - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.